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- Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclu...
Show moreInclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclusive education is impacted by many factors, one being the attitude of the teachers. Attitude is comprised of three components, Behavioral, Cognitive and Affective (Gregory & Noto, 2012). Understanding what component is a strength or an area that could use improvement will enable educational leaders to develop professional development and training opportunities to address their educators' gaps in attitude in regards to inclusive education. This study identified whether there was a relationship between teacher attitude about inclusion and their teaching assignment, level at which they teach and/or years of teaching experience. A survey was conducted resulting in 219 participants completing the necessary information to be included in the research, which included three demographic questions, as well as a nine item Likert scale questionnaire. General education teachers made up 69.90% of the participants, special education teachers made up 30.10%. Elementary educators were 58% of the respondents, secondary were 42%. Regarding years of teaching experiences for the participants, 7.3% had 0-3 years, 11.9% had 4-9 years and the largest majority of respondents, 80.80%, had ten years or more. After receiving the survey for this quantitative study, responses were analyzed using SPSS, descriptive statistics, Cronbach a, t-Tests, ANOVA and multiple linear regression. Findings of this study indicated general education teachers have a lower level of agreement than their special education colleagues in both the cognitive and affective components of attitude towards inclusion for students with disabilities. Results also indicated that teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience have lower cognitive agreement than those who have taught for fewer years. Lastly, the study showed there was no significant difference in regards to the three components based on the grade level teachers taught. From this study, recommendations for professional development and trainings, as well as future research, were addressed.
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